Precocious Puberty

I thought I would bring this subject up as I have seen two cases of “precocious puberty” recently in my managing and coaching of Little League, and was wondering if anyone else has seen this. And, I think this reinforces the need to be careful when comparing our boys to other boys as we just don’t know what is going on inside their young developing bodies.

Basically, precocious puberty is when the body enters puberty earlier than normal, resulting in skeletal growth that is “older” than the boy’s chronological age and making the boy very “tall” and “strong” for his age.

Ironically, however, according to the Mayo Clinic, “children with precocious puberty may grow quickly at first and be tall, compared with their peers. But, because their bones mature more quickly than normal, they often stop growing earlier than usual. This can cause them to be shorter than average as adults. Early treatment of precocious puberty, especially when it occurs in very young children, can help them grow taller than they would without treatment.”

I know two boys who at 9 and 10 were very tall with exceptionally strong arms for their age, but were each recently diagnosed with this condition. Their “bones” were developed to almost two years beyond their chronological age. Now the parents are understandably worried that their boy might actually be short, rather than tall as previously projected.

Like I said, something to keep in mind when comparing boys - they’re all different and not all at the same stage of their development.

Here we see the other side of the coin. Of course, we all know about the kid who never seems to grow, and we worry that he’s destined to be a shrimp—then at thirteen, fourteen he suddenly hits a growth spurt, or perhaps the first of several, and next thing you know he’s 6’4’’! Yes indeed, it takes all kinds, and all kids are different. It’s like with pitchers—no two are alike, and some will be fireballers and some will be finesse pitchers. 8)

So true, Zita. My daughter’s grade school friend always loved baseball but he was always small for his age. Now in high school, this boy has grown like a weed (my daughter and he are sophomores). He is 6 feet tall and still growing and on the Varsity baseball team! So happy for him.